Thursday Update #23

Genesis Community consultation meeting

35 year consents for the Tongariro Power Scheme (TPS) now in place.

The Genesis consultation meeting was held Tuesday 8th November. I, Mark Cosgrove and Virginia Church attended on bealf of the committee. We learnt that the Tongariro Power Scheme (TPS) consents have been granted for 35 years. Relationship agreements were reached with Ngati Rangi and Whanganui iwi in December 2010, that the appeal to the Supreme Court by iwi appellants was withdrawn and that the consent term was reinstated at a hearing of the Environment Court  on 2nd June 2011. The relationship agreements include connective flows, research and monitoring and mitigation funding.

The complexity of operating the scheme and its impact on Lake Taupo water levels was discussed with explanations of compliance and regret for 3 instances of non compliance.


Of interest to us is the fact that Genesis now has an in house team of hydologists.

The issue of sediment flushing arose through questions. The response is that there is still a huge amount of ash and sand in the catchment from the 1995 and 96 Ruapehu eruptions. In the dry desert landscape of Mt Ruapehu this material lies  loose and easily able to be washed into the Tongariro River when weather events occur that will move this material. Such a weather event in January this year, Cyclone Norma, moved an enormous quantity of material in to the river. We were told that flushing occured in September 2010, May 2011 and again in October 2011. After each event the lower river filled with sediment. We will go to Rangipo Dam on December 2nd to have the system explained to us.

Periphyton and Invertebrate monitoring

Cam Speedy spoke about monitoring of Periphyton amd invertebrates. The key issue seemed to me that a river full of Mayfly, Stonefly and Caddisfly (EPT) was a river with a good food supply for trout and Whio (Blue Ducks). Anglers will notice the fly hatches and the swallows darting over the surface of the river swooping on the flies. That is good.

Periphyton is a brown slippery plant growth that covers the stones and rocks when the river changes to  a more languid flow. The insect life changes according to the food supply. Periphyton does not support the big bugs, EPT . It does support smaller insects of much lesser food value to trout and Whio.

We see the Tongariro river as an important nursery for trout. The nursery is more effective when there are plenty of these aquatic larval insects.

Interestingly the Whio population on the river is growing. The Whio is a torrent duck which likes the faster water where periphyton is not able to establish itself indicating that the faster water still grows the right plants and insects. It has been a good year for Whio (Blue Duck) and Genesis as sponsor of the National Whio Recovery Programme feels its sponsorship is in a good cause as do we.

I applaud Genesis Energy for holding this consulation meeting to opely discuss their environmental activity around the TPS.

Recreation release dates for 2012

Recreational release dates were advised as:

January 8th  30 cu mecs from Rangipo Dam

February 4th 30 cumecs from Poutu Intake

February 5th 30 cu mecs from Rangipo Dam

September 15th 30 cumecs from Poutu Intake

September 16th 30 cu mecs from Rangipo Dam.

Releases from Rangipo Dam are more for kayakers and while there is an increased flow level in the area of Turangi it is not as significant as the release from the Poutu Intake.

Fishing Report

It has been a relatively dry week. There are few anglers around on the river.

It is still good fishing during and after rains with some excellent fishing had.

In the shallows at the tail of shingle pools there are plenty of spawning fish which should be left alone.

River Work

Work on willow removal from the Reed Pool to Delatour’s Pool has been delayed until late next week.

The last 3 months river flow

Eric Wilson